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Hundreds attend veterans breakfast, ceremony in Grass Valley on Veterans Day

From left, Steve Hoss, Oral Stallings, Bernie Bachli and Pete Vasilakos served as the color guard for the Veterans Day ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Building.
Alan Riquelmy/ariquelmy@theunion.com |

Bob Koehler, an Air Force and Vietnam War veteran, remembers those he lost in the war.

Sitting at a Wednesday breakfast for veterans, Koehler paused for a moment in thought. Veterans Day — created to commemorate the end of World War I — holds special meaning for him, he noted.

“It’s a brotherhood,” he said of the military. “We all support each other.



“We all had to do something,” he added.

“Our veterans have always answered the call. … The U.S. shall not only remain strong, it shall remain engaged.”Nevada County Supervisor Nate Beason

About 200 people, Koehler included, stepped inside Peace Lutheran Church for the Veterans Day breakfast sponsored by the All-Veterans Stand Down. Orange juice and coffee, biscuits, gravy and sausage patties were doled out to veterans, their spouses and supporters.




The Mount St. Mary’s Academy Choraleers stood at the front of the room. The fourth- to eighth-graders sang “I’m Proud to be an American” as volunteers delivered more coffee to their various tables.

“I’d do anything for the VA, for the veterans,” Koehler said.

Koehler planned to attend the Veterans Day ceremony later that morning at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building. Many others followed his lead.

The crowd at the veterans building sat before a massive American flag suspended at the hall’s front. Attendees rose to their feet as the ceremony began and the Nevada County All Veterans Color Guard marched down the aisle.

“It’s an honor representing our veterans,” said Pete Vasilakos, a color guard member.

“We’re taking care of our own,” added Oral Stallings, another color guard.

The crowd returned to its seats as retired Navy Capt. Nate Beason, a Nevada County supervisor, approached the lectern for his keynote address.

“I want to talk about freedom, individual liberty, exceptionalism,” Beason said.

The supervisor noted several wars that made their mark on the nation, saying America shouldn’t isolate itself from world events.

The victory of World War II, for example, secured democracy. America must continue to face threats to its way of life, and Beason said new generations of veterans would accept that challenge.

“Our veterans have always answered the call,” Beason said, adding later, “The U.S. shall not only remain strong, it shall remain engaged.”

Moments later the Nevada County All Veterans Honor Guard delivered a three volley gun salute. The crowd rose to its feet for the last time to sing “America the Beautiful.”

“I’m thankful for my freedom,” said John Candelaria, with the Food Bank of Nevada County, who helped provide breakfast Wednesday morning. “The fact that they went out and did what they did so we all could live the American dream. We’re grateful for that.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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